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How to implement your own local cloud rules.

 

Background

It was always possible to detect the usage of websites using web metering and customers had to enter their own patterns. This older version did not show the full numbers when for example there was a proxy connection due to the redirecting of the proxy server.

Since then there is a new way of collecting the website usage. This is now done by browser plugins from the browser developers and a central catalogue is being managed centrally by Snow.

New patterns are now added daily. Customers can also have links listed, but the links need to be universal and thus local patterns could possibly not be suitable for all the customers (for example to have the local canteen menu of a company listed).

The Cloud Rule Creator is the brainchild of our Brazilian Snow colleague gabriel.carvalho.

 

Introduction

If “Cloud App Metering” has been activated, cloud rules will be sent to all defined computers.

Cloud rules for commercial portals are continuously being added by the Data Intelligence Service. Customers can also submit links, if they are for example commercial offerings.

These cloud rules are a collection of web links and can be viewed in the “webmetering.rules” file in the Snow Inventory Agent directory.

These cloud rules are then used to compare with the browser plugins to find any usage of these. Once a web link has been called up by a user, this information is then sent to the Snow servers and processed resulting in the web application showing up in the Snow License Manager.

These findings are identified by the suffix “(Cloud)” under applications in the Snow License Manager.

 

Alternative

There is a tool, which is not standard out of the box, but developed by a Snow employee to create your own local web rules.

This tool can be used, if the web links required cannot be added to the global catalogue. These are often internal web links and/or non-commercial offerings.

The “Cloud Rule Creator” can be installed anywhere but needs access to the Snow SQL database.

The overview shows how many items you have customized yourself.

 The first step is always to add a new application and then the rules. In this example we are adding the Snow Globe website.

After saving all the information, the following row of data has been generated in the “webmetering.rules” file:

"friendlyName":"Snow Globe","pattern":"^(?i)(http|https)://(.+[.]|)community\\.snowsoftware\\.com/.*(\\?.*|)$","domain":"^(?i)(http|https)://(.+[.]|)community\\.snowsoftware\\.com

 

When this web site has been called, the metering information will be sent to the Snow servers and later shown on the Snow License Manager.

 

Summary

This tool is a great way to add your own non-commercial and/or local web sites that you want to discover. It is important to add the address of the website after a successful login, because only then is a usage correctly detected. Generic landing pages are not a recommended entry.

 

Note

This tool is provided as is, it is not covered by the general support and update processes of Snow, thus the implementation needs to be planned.

It is strongly advisable to implement/support this tool under the close supervision of a Snow Consultant.

 

If you would like to know more about this, please reach out to your local Account Manager.

New report: Files per computer

 

We’ve al been in the situation where we need to understand the reason for a certain application to be triggered in SLM. To be able to figure out what triggered this application, you could either edit a computer to check this on machine level or edit an application to see what triggered this application on all computers. This was only available to users with edit permissions on computer/application level.

 

To be able to provide a list with the combination of computers/applications this resulted a lot in creating custom reports for customers, this is the reason why we’ve introduced a new standard report in SLM 9.2 that brings this functionality. Let’s provide some more insight into this new report called "Files per computer". This report can be found in the “Standard reports” group.

With this report it makes finding all the relevant information like the path of a file much easier, which will make validating found software also a lot better. Unassigned software still needs to be reviewed in the SMACC, this information is not present in the “Files per Computer” report, however it does show the “hidden” applications that are used for recognition by SRS.

 

Please always make sure to add search criteria before hitting “Show report” since there is a lot of data to be loaded. However, if you forget to add search criteria, only the first 5 machines will be shown by default to prevent unnecessary load.

 

Let’s use Java as an example! Java is currently a hot topic (https://community.snowsoftware.com/message/11636-java-licensing-changes) due to the changes in licensing that Oracle implemented starting January 2019. If you make use of the Oracle Java versions you need to identify the specific version and if it was part of an installed third-party application, to determine if this needs to be licensed with Oracle. Therefore it’s good to have an overview of machines with Java and the executable path in one single report.

Using this “Files per Computer”, I’m now able to find all machines that have a java.exe installed and I can easily see in the path information if this has been part of a third-party application.

Background: you want to exclude specific software installations on specific computers from the compliance calculation in your Snow License Manager. This could have multiple reasons and has been solved in different ways in the past and/or still for some special cases.

 

Previous challenges and solution:
Examples:
MSDN: licensing of multiple test systems, where only specific Microsoft products could be covered.
OEM licenses connected to the relevant hardware.
Terminal servers: some software manufacturers, including Microsoft, allow their software to be installed on terminal servers, but these are not counted towards a compliance, rather the devices under TS- applications.
Training environments: some software manufacturers, including Microsoft, give the right to use a limited number of computers with their software for free under certain agreements.
All other software products that might cover more than two installations where there might be no direct technical linkages to secondary use rights or other use rights.
Solution:
The main solution is implemented by moving the relevant computers to a dummy organizational unit, and then adding dummy site licenses to these to cover all of the relevant software installations.

 

The following example will show how one software application will be removed from the compliance calculation in Snow License Manager.


Step 1: find the application that needs to be adjusted and check the current compliance. 

 

Step 2: if you have administrative rights in Snow, go to the “Administration” page and click on “Compliance exclusions”.
 

Step 3: click on “Add exclusion” to start defining the compliance exclusions.
 

 

Step 4: enter the rule name and reason. The “Active” checkbox can only be used later or set in the last step.
 

Step 5: search for the identified application as in Step 1 and mark the checkbox to fill the right-side column. In this right-side column you can delete wrong applications by clicking on the small cross or “Clear list”.
 

Step 6: search for the computers or use the “Filter with installations” functionality. Mark the required computers in the results list and you can delete computers from the right-side column by clicking on the small cross or remove all with “Clear list”.
 

Step 7: after these steps please click “Save” at the bottom right side of the window.
 

 

Step 8: as mentioned in Step 4, you are asked if your settings should be activated. If your settings are correct, please click on “Yes” to activate the rule.
 

Step 9: your rule will then be added to the list of all rules and can be edited from here in future or deleted by clicking the small cross on the right side of each rule. More rules can be added here by clicking on “Add exclusion”.
 

Step 10: after adding/editing any rule, please ensure that you start a compliance recalculation before looking for any changes. This menu item can be found under your user name in the top right hand corner.
 

 

Step 11: open the application(s) that you are working on and see how many computers have been manually excluded from the compliance calculation.
 

Please note that this is a new feature and might change over time.